Bristol based Circumstance Distillery are a modern English craft distillery who want to do things their own way. The website boldly states, "Organic grains. Beer yeasts. 336 hour fermentations. Modern English Whisky". As a relatively new distillery, in operation since 2018, they are growing in popularity and a part of the English whisky scene.
So what does this tell us?
Single Grain Rye Whisky 1:11:1:9:37 is the bottle under review today. This is a purchased bottle but either way we'll tell it as we see it. From the outside the labelling is a significant improvement on earlier packaging. With all the import information captured on an attractive label. So what does this tell us?
51% malted rye, 49% malted barley so we should get some spicy and grassy notes with malty bread to boot.
Saison yeast can impart a peppery taste, along with gentle fruit esters at the right fermentation temperatures.
37 months maturation in multiple casks, including: ex bourbon, virgin European oak and Oloroso casks. So we should get a slow bourbon infusion mixed with a lot of tannin from the new oak and some fruity sherry notes courtesy from the Oloroso.
42.7% ABV will open up the expression and allow the aromas to emerge. Not sure this gives it enough wiggle room for cocktail use but that is for another review.
The colour is deep gold that hints at the maturation process but also adds to the summer feel of this expression. Open the bottle and pour a dram. We got the following tasting notes.
Nose: Dry white wine, sugared pastries and the faintest hint of summer blossoms.
Palate: Floral notes, green fruits and freshly baked rye bread.
Finish: A hint of vanilla, cracked pepper and fresh oak.
This is not a Rye in the vein of American Rye Whiskeys like Michter’s, Sazera or Bulleit. It's a lot lighter and fresher, dare I say it's not as mature? It's a pleasant dram from an modern distiller, however it doesn't hold the complexities of other Rye whiskies from more established distillers on the market.
Circumstance see themselves as innovators and disruptors in the whisky scene. Their releases are test beds for experimental materials and processes.